11/19/2014 12:35 EST | Updated 01/19/2015 05:59 EST

Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel shouldn't pay $1M bill for birth in Hawaii hospital: lawyer

A Saskatchewan mother should not pay the nearly $1-million US hospital bill she received after giving birth in Hawaii, says a lawyer experienced in such cases.

"What I typically counsel people to do is to not pay the bills, depending on their circumstances, because I have yet to see a big health authority come into Canada to try and enforce and collect," said Scott Stanley, a Vancouver-based lawyer who works on similar cases. "And of course, they'd have to do that."

Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel, who is from Humboldt, Sask. gave birth nine weeks early while on holiday in November 2013. Her daughter, Reece, had to be hospitalized for just over two months. 

Huculak-Kimmel thought that her insurance would cover the massive bill. It didn't. 

"There's probably nothing she could have done differently and that's the real tragedy here," Stanley said. "I mean, I see cases like this all the time — not necessarily involving pregnancies — where people have gone to the United States ... and they've had a minor medical condition, but that's enough to disqualify them."

Stanley said the Canadian insurance industry needs to be reformed to better help customers needing coverage and care.